The Netherlands may be the cycling capital of the world, but why not give your legs a rest and buy a car for longer journeys, day trips or your daily commute. Many expats choose to purchase a car as it makes commuting and day-to-day travel a lot more convenient, plus it can work out a lot cheaper than public transport or leasing a car.
Car finance requirements for expats
If you don’t plan to buy a car outright, then you will need to arrange a car finance loan and pay it off monthly.
Car finance can be arranged via car dealerships (for example Auto.nl) or with your bank. They will want to see your employment contract, proof of your income, and your outgoings to determine whether you can afford the loan.
Lenders will want to see the following:
- That you have 3 years’ employment history living in the Netherlands working for a Dutch-based company*
- That you have positive credit history in the Netherlands
- That you have a Dutch residence permit.
- That your income meets certain thresholds (and your outgoings are not too high).
Borrowing rates for car loans come between 6% – 9%. That means you will pay an additional interest on top of your loan. So a loan of €5000 over 5 years would cost a total of €5951 at 7.3% interest. Check out ABN AMRO’s loan calculator to do your own calculation.
If you want to check that you are eligible in terms of your income and outgoings then you can use the ABN AMRO loan calculator. Once you’ve done the initial calculation, click “make a personalised quote” to check your income eligibility. The tool still works when translated using Chrome translate (or another browser).
*This comes from inexpatfin.nl, it may not be a hard rule.
Costs of owning a car in NL
Remember there are other costs involved with owning a car (as opposed to leasing a car).
BPM: A tax you pay on your car when first registering it. If you buy from a dealership in your name then this will be included in the price.
Road tax: A tax you pay as a car owner based on your car’s CO2 emissions. It can cost between €100 and €200 and is paid every three months. There’s no road tax for electric cars.
Inspections: The APK test (a roadworthiness test like an MOT) is carried out once every 2 years and costs around €20. If something doesn’t pass the test then this will become an additional cost.
Parking: This could be your biggest expense depending on where you live. See our cheap parking guide for help on parking (coming soon).
Fuel: Petrol, diesel, and gas aren’t cheap, especially in big cities like Amsterdam. Maybe you’re considering an electric car instead.
Where to buy used cars
Marktplaats is an Ebay-like auction site in the Netherlands that has a large second-hand autos section.
There is no English-language site, but you can translate the site using your browser (e.g. Chrome). Many sellers will be able to respond to questions in English via messages.
Marktplaats has 7500 new vehicles added daily. You can search within your local neighbourhood.
How to avoid getting ripped off on Marktplaats
Because it is an auction site there is a chance you can get ripped off by some sellers.
- Check the sellers’ profile for how long they have been using Marktplaats and what their review rating is.
- Message the seller to see how well they communicate and how helpful they are.
- Check the payment types accepted. The yellow “Gelijk Oversteken Service” icon tells you that your payment can be withheld until you have the vehicle. Don’t pay via Tikkie or bank transfer because these types of payment are not protected in the same way.
- Check the vehicle history via the RDW or you can do a more comprehensive check using Finnik.
- Take an expert with you to assess the vehicle.
- Take a test drive in the car.
Go to Marktplaats
For a more convenient and trustworthy used car purchase you can try Auto.nl. Prices may be higher than some Marktplaats deals but Auto.nl guarantee that cars are in great condition. Their mechanics do a 31-point check of each vehicle including exterior, interior, underneath, under the hood and car history checks.